I recall distinctly the condescending tone in which a friend and I were mocked by an acquaintance who overheard us discussing why we chose to consume organically grown foods instead of foods grown conventionally (i.e., through the chemically dependent methods of industrial farming). Explaining the reasons for our choices, they were breezily dismissed as “conspiracy theories” that were opposed to “science” and “progress.” Didn’t we know that chemical farming and GMO crops were how we were going to “feed the world” and “end starvation”?
Yet, as I’ve often written on this blog, amidst all this ostensible abundance, we here in the United States are very likely the best fed and least nourished people in the world; our bellies are full, but our bodies are starving. Why? Because industrial methods of chemical farming literally have engineered out of our food the very nutrients our bodies require to function. Very much like the Ancient Mariner who lamented, “Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink,” we live amidst millions upon millions of acres of food that not only does us no good, but actually does us harm. How can this be?
In 1974, the former American-owned Monsanto Company (now owned by the massive German pharmaceutical company Bayer) brought glyphosate to market for agricultural use under the trade name RoundUp. By 2007, RoundUp had become the most used herbicide in the United States’ agricultural sector and, between the late 1970s and 2016, there was a 100-fold increase in the frequency and volume of application of glyphosate-based herbicides across the globe. It is now estimated that upwards of 85% of the world’s food supply is grown from GMO crops that are treated with glyphosate and its successors. Why does this matter?
At approximately the same time that glyphosate began to proliferate in usage across the U.S. and the globe, most notably beginning in late 1990s, the rates of chronic disease of nearly every kind and across all age groups began to skyrocket: Alzheimer’s, autism, auto-immune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, infertility, multiple sclerosis, obesity, Parkinson’s, etcetera, etcetera. Coincidence?
Many continue to assert that there is no connection between glyphosate and the explosion in chronic diseases, but the mounting scientific evidence against glyphosate, the September 2016 acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer, and the recent August 2018 legal judgment against Monsanto may suggest that even Monsanto/Bayer is signaling that the jig is up.
The way glyphosate works (which is not simply a “weed killer,” but is actually an antibiotic) is to inhibit within plants the enzymatic production of certain essential amino acids that the human body must obtain (thus, “essential”) from plants. These amino acids are the very building blocks of human health, and glyphosate has eliminated them from the global food supply.
What’s more, it was discovered that glyphosate directly inhibits the functioning of the tight junctions throughout the body that are designed as a protective barrier between our internal systems and our outside environment: our sinuses, digestive tracts, renal tubules — even the blood brain barrier — have been compromised, and the protections we need to survive are no longer there. We have been left defenseless.
As Dr. Kiriac noted in 2002,
“Mother Nature will ultimately sentence anyone who consistently breaks the laws of nature to chronic disease and premature death. The number of people in their 40s, 50s and 60s with serious health problems that lead to heart attacks, cancers, and strokes is staggering, augmenting, and unnecessary.
“When I came to Canada, I realized that in my homeland, the former USSR, we had a better quality of nutrition since we lived closer to the land – fresher, more natural foods, and less pollution. Only in the ravages of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster did I see the level of the degenerative diseases – cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, allergies, and immune system disorders – the diseases that I found in North America. Why is that? Poor nutrition is the major cause.”
As bleak an outlook as all this suggests, there are grass roots movements that are working to reveal chemical farming’s impact on public health as well as assist farmers leave behind the methods of “big farming” and return to traditional, regenerative agriculture, which in turn will return society to a natural, humane, nutrient-rich food supply fit for human consumption. It is an exciting effort among whose leaders is Dr. Zach Bush, MD of Charlottesville, Virginia. We encourage you to learn more about his leadership in this movement at the Farmer’s Footprint website and most especially by listening to the two episodes to which we link below of The Rich Roll Podcast, on which Dr. Bush was a guest.
~ Owen Sweeney
- The Rich Roll Podcast #353 – Zach Bush, MD, March 11, 2018
- The Rich Roll Podcast #414 – Zach Bush, MD, January 8, 2019
- Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases; Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff; April 18, 2013
- Protective Effects of Lignite Extract Supplement on Intestinal Barrier Function in Glyphosate-Mediated Tight Junction Injury; John J. Gildea, David A. Roberts, and Zachary Bush; January 16, 2017
- Awakening the Genius Within: The Culmination in Cellular Nutrition, Dr. Roland Thomas, foreward by Dr. Michael Kiriac, 2003